Classic March Madness: Cardiac Kids

On April 4 1983 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Magic happened. 6th seed NC. State Wolfpack aka "The Cardiac Kids" upset overall #1 seed Houston Cougars aka "Phi Slama Jama" 54-52.

We all seen the highlight of Derek Whittenburg's last second jumper, only to turn into a pass, as Lorenzo Charles came out of nowhere, caught the potential air-ball and dunked it for the game winner as time expired. And who can forget the famous sight of Jimmy V running around the court looking for someone to hug and jump on.

"The Pit" was filled with pandemonium that night. That win capped off a 9-game win streak for the Wolfpack. This game may be one of the greatest upsets ever just because of Houston's star power alone. With future Hall of Famers like Clyde "The Glyde" Drexler and Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon (tournament's "Most Outstanding Player"), they were easily the favorites to win the whole thing. Another college great, Ralph Sampson and his Virginia sqaud, was also a victim to NC. State's remarkable run, losing to them twice, once in the ACC Championship game and in the Elite 8. Sampson was the Player of the year for the 3rd straight year but that was overshadowed by NC. State that year.

42 years later, this moment lives on,  sadly we loss both Jim Valvano and Lorenzo Charles in that time frame. Lorenzo died in a car crash back in 2011 and Jimmy V died of cancer in 1993, 8 weeks after he made his inspirational speech at the ESPYs but their Legacy will forever live on.

Notes from that 1983 Championship game:

  • Hakeem finished with 20 points and 18 boards.
  • NC. State beat two #1 seeds in the tournament, Virginia and Houston
  • Average margin of victory on the 9-game win streak: 3.6
Kendall HiltonComment